Snow blanketed the ground beneath her feet, an early dusting across the hills that arrived hand in hand with the sharp December air. It hid the grave markers from view, those stones that littered the landscape on any other day. Beneath the deep, dull tide of grief in her heart- though numb grief, for this whole situation was too surreal for her to believe in- a slightly warm surge of gratefulness filled her. Thank goodness the names of the dead could not be seen with the naked eye. She didn’t want to remember her reason for standing in this spot today, even when the gaping, coffin-sized hole in the ground was staring her right in the face. I wish I was somewhere else, she thought fervently, even though she didn’t know what this “somewhere else” was. Anywhere but here and now.
Hugging herself tightly, both in order to hold herself together and for warmth, her eyes cast about the rest of the sorry throng who had come to pay their respects today. Her mother stood by, weeping loudly, as she had done now for weeks on end. Clutching her mother’s arm was her younger sister, who stood stone-faced at the ground. Her little sister looked on, apart from all the rest, deep in thought. Besides the desperate heaving of her mother’s breast, each figure was as still and as silent as trees. Their mourning garments stood out like open wounds against the whitewashed landscape. Digging her toes into the ground, she unearthed flecks of brown mud beneath the lovely snow, and swallowed hard to keep her emotions under control.
The clergyman who stood before the gravesite opened his copy of the Bible and began the service. Instead of listening, she tuned his sleepy voice out and gazed emotionlessly down at her black-clad body, at the dress that she had bought especially for this occasion.
Black silk. Yes. Black silk and…and leather. Her dress threw the apricot tones of her skin into a sharp, yet flattering contrast. She needed to get back to Ari as soon as possible and find out his opinion on the matter. Black. Yes, black was perfect. In this garb she knew she was beautiful.